City of Amarillo discusses food truck regulations

City of Amarillo discusses food truck regulations
Source: CBS
Source: CBS
Source: CBS
Source: CBS
Source: CBS
Source: CBS

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - The City of Amarillo's Environmental Health and Utilities Department will host a meeting to discuss food safety and regulations.

In the past 10, years a paradigm shift has happened in the food industry. Where once restaurant were the big food establishment, food trucks are taking center stage.

The meeting is at 2:00 p.m. at the Civic Center. Representatives from the Environmental Health and Utilities department will go over existing codes and show how they are being updated.

In the past, food trucks had to be tied to restaurants for many different reasons surrounding maintenance and general up-keep of a truck that was not residential.

Owners had to have a spot to park the trucks for them to be serviced, a place to refill water, dispose of fluids, clean unit and park unit.

Environmental Health & Utilities Director Shaun May says the updates will create a more concrete and safe definition for trucks.

"If they can comply with the rules of the state of Texas, and the ordinances that we set forth around safety, fire prevention, electrical safety, gas safety, those kinds of things, we're good," said May. "If they can do all those things, then I'm willing to waive the requirement for them to be tied for brick and mortar."

The updates will allow officials to waive less critical requirements as long as the food trucks meet every other code surrounding health and safety.

In short, food trucks no longer have to be tied to a restaurant and can operate independently.

May says this will create vast opportunities.

"Before now, there was no opportunities," said May. "I think now the opportunity exists. It's not promised or guaranteed, but if you're willing to put the time, the effort and energy into doing what's right in a food truck, in terms of safety, you will have that opportunity."

The new regulations will also ensure the health of customers. The Environmental Health and Utilities Department is aiming at enhancing the food speculation score ranking system.

They hope to change the display zones for critical food permits and food speculation scores to the front of an establishment.

May says more then 60 percent of the updates are refreshing the language and making definitions more clearly match state law and local ordinances. The city wants the writing to be more consistent and transparent for every one.

Owner and operator of Papa's Concessions Glen Thompson says the newest regulations will be beneficial to both vendors and hungry customers.

"They're important," said Thompson. "That way everybody has safe food and everything, and we have an opportunity to be entrepreneurs and be able to make a living and have the rules set to know what we are dealing with."

May says the updates will make becoming a certified food truck vendor a more clear and safe process. He says it will create opportunities that citizens of Amarillo should not be missing out on.

"I don't think there's any reason why we in Amarillo should miss out on that," said May. "Safety and food trucks are not exclusive of each other. I think we can do both. I think we can absolutely do both and have a lot of fun and provide a lot of opportunities."

May has been working with the President of National Food Truck Association in Santa Monica to iron out the details of these updated regulations.

Anyone who wants to learn more about food trucks and the regulations is strongly encouraged to attend.

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